By Dean Whittaker

My intention of the Whittaker Report is to share what each member of our team has learned of late. Sometimes it is work related but most of the time it is personal. My learning this month has included going through stages of grief and loss as everything familiar has changed since Covid-19 entered all of our lives.  The isolation from friends and colleagues goes against my human nature to socialize. Working from home allows me to feel that I am contributing but comes with its challenges. I am used to working in different locations, traveling to see some of you, going downtown for coffee.

On the other hand, the time to improve my relationship with my wife, slow down and appreciate the simple things, and get to the projects one never has time for, such as garage cleaning, has been a positive outcome.  This “pause” has caused me to reflect, work on learning to play the guitar, and cook new dishes. I’ve connected regularly with my two surviving siblings. Yesterday, I planted seeds indoors to get ready for my spring garden.  

As I work at home, I have used email more to communicate with clients.  Recently, I had a lesson in the risk of communicating with email when the tone of my message put at risk a long-standing friendship. A simple phone call would have alleviated the misunderstanding.  Using collaboration tools like Zoom and Go-to-Meeting have enabled a network of us to create a recurring survey to assess the on-going economic impact that the virus is having on business. The data collected will help in forming policy to mitigate the damage and facilitate economic recovery.  The survey instrument has been widely distributed in the US, and other countries such as Canada, Australia, and France. Within two weeks, the network of organizations engaged in economic development has grown to over 350 members world-wide! People helping people. 

I feel a strong sense of gratitude towards the public safety, medical professionals and members of the military on the front lines of the war with the covid-19 virus. They are risking their lives and the lives of their families to take care of those of us who have succumbed to this illness or soon will.  With no natural immunity to this virus, all of us will sooner or later likely come face-to-face with the covid-19 virus.

May all of us be safe, be kind, and remember we are in this together. And…one more thing: wash your hands!  

With gratitude, from the team at Whittaker Associates, Inc.